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Bragdon v. Abbott

United States Supreme Court
524 U.S. 624 (1998)


Abbott (plaintiff) had been infected with HIV since 1986. In 1994, Abbott, who was not yet experiencing serious symptoms of the disease, went to Dr. Bragdon (defendant), a dentist, for an examination. On the office information form, Abbott disclosed her HIV-positive status. After an examination, Bragdon informed Abbott that he had a policy not to fill cavities of HIV-positive patients. Bragdon offered to perform the procedure at a hospital, but that Abbott would be responsible for the cost of using the hospital’s facilities. Abbott declined and sued Bragdon under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), alleging discrimination on the basis of her disability. The court of appeals granted Abbott’s motion for summary judgment and concluded that her HIV-positive status posed no direct threat to the health and safety of others in Bragdon’s office. Bragdon appealed. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether the court of appeals had sufficient material in the record to conclude that Abbott’s HIV-positive status posed no direct threat to health and safety.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

Concurrence (Stevens, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Rehnquist, C.J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (O’Connor, J.)

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